**Updated from Di – Brightwell shows optimism , first in line for Saab they say!

Zamier Ahmed, board member of the Turkish company Brightwell Holdings spoke to ttela.se and sounds pretty optimistic when it comes to the acquisition of Saab. He even claims that GM is positive to their attempt. I’d be cautious how big their chance really is, after all this is just one party among others who are interested in Saab. Still, it is ecouraging to read that there are still parties showing real interest in Saab.

In six months, Zamier Ahmed followed Saab’s development on the Turkish investment company’s behalf. Brightwell Holding, which operates globally with an expressed interest in the environment, wants to buy Saab for two main reasons, according to Ahmed: for the well-known and quality brand Saab, and for the most advanced technology available in the company.

– The potential of technology from including an environmental perspective fits very well into our policy, says Ahmed to TTELA on Tuesday.

Then wait Brightwell on responses from the receivers as to when a meeting may be required. Then hope Brightwell able to find out exactly how much of the Saab you want to keep in Trollhättan.

– We definitely want to keep production in Trollhättan, but need to look at exactly how much. But all is not inconceivable, says Ahmed.

During the past six months, he has been in contact with Victor Muller, with the hope of a share or a purchase of Saab as a whole. But, as Ahmed says, Muller chose to stick to the Chinese investors.

– I’ve also been in contact with GM during this process and they have been very positive for us, says Ahmed, who believes that the U.S. production line at will be very welcoming to a Turkish purchase of Saab.

– Our government also supports this fully. We believe that Saab could survive and with the right leadership to a bright future, says Ahmed, who mentions Saab’s supplier chain that likely “fragmented and highly corrupt” and is one of the measures Brightwell need addressing.

Brightwell Holdings previous experience in the automotive industry can be found in an acquisition in 2010 of a European electric car, and ongoing negotiations with an American car manufacturer.

– I can not mention their names yet, no.

From Di.se tonight: GOOGLE Translated!!!
The Turkish investment company Brightwell Holdings has more chance than China Youngman to buy bankrupt Saab. It believes the board member and spokesperson Zamier Ahmed. And he does not describe Victor Muller’s leadership in the sweet words.

Bankrupt Saab Automobile has attracted a range of stakeholders, including Chinese Youngman purportedly of today’s industry return to Trollhättan in the days to negotiate with bankruptcy trustees, Anne-Marie Pouteaux and Hans Bergqvist.

But they are not alone in wanting to buy Saab. Investment company Brightwell Holdings, based in Istanbul, is now awaiting responses from the receivers to get to a meeting.

“We are waiting for a signal from the receivers so that we can start discussions with them,” says Zamier Ahmed, Director and spokesperson for Brightwell Holdings, which is focused on investments in energy, transport and innovative technology.

Just before the turn of the year, he told TV4 West that the company has had the eyes of Saab Automobile over the past six months and had discussions with both the CEO Victor Muller and the former administrator Guy Lofalk.

Brightwell Holdings has previously expressed an interest in both technology and the Saab brand, but is now clear that they do not want to buy only part of the bankruptcy estate.

“We are interested in the Saab, not of small components such as just brand. We understand completely and keeps Saab brand heritage, its history and the high quality of products, “said Ahmed Zamier.

The aim is to continue to operate the Saab brand and to continue production in Trollhättan. To what scale is too early to tell, says Zamier Ahmed.

“We need more knowledge of the company’s structure before we can answer that. Some parts of the devices we would need to produce in other ways to save costs. ”

According Zamier Ahmed, a careful analysis of what went wrong with Saab and why it was so heavy losses.

“In the end, the company was very poorly managed. I will not mention any names. But if you have something as important as Saab Automobile with its heritage, its brand and a high quality product, so I see no reason why you can not keep selling the product, in the sense that you do not take care of business in a very, very bad way, “he says.

Saab Automobile has been run by Victor Muller, so what you say certainly throws a shadow over him?
“He has been chairman and CEO as of course the responsibility lies with him in the end, just as it would if I or someone else was in his position. Mr. Muller has a background in the automotive industry. To use an example: If you have heart trouble, go to a cardiologist, not to an orthopedist because he can not help you, “said Ahmed Zamier.

Do you have expertise in the automotive industry then?
“Yes, we do. Within our organization we have very experienced people from the automotive sector and companies like Ford and Jaguar Land Rover. We have knowledge of the entire process of production of cars, “said Ahmed Zamier and mentions Brightwell Holdings’ stake in the small French electric vehicle manufacturer Tilt.

What are you prepared to pay for the assets of Saab?
“It would be wrong of me to say it, because we are in this situation do not know what that is for sale.”

Brightwell Holdings has also been in contact with Saab’s former owner, General Motors, which earlier put spanner in the works for a Chinese takeover. As TTELA reported on Wednesday Zamier Ahmed believes that the U.S. production line at will welcome a Turkish purchase of Saab.

“GM is a major supplier to the current Saab models, so we need to know if they will continue to accept and deliver these components. We have had favorable discussions with them. ”

Do you think you have better chances than Youngman to pass from GM?
“Yes. GM has a very well established production of automobiles in China. It would not be in their interest to let Saab go to China because there is a conflict of interest there. ”

77 thoughts on “**Updated from Di – Brightwell shows optimism , first in line for Saab they say!”

  1. Worth following, can see GM preferring euro purchase than Indian or Chinese. Curious mention of supplier corruption -in Sweden? Maybe, but surely not a material concern to a bidder at this stage?

  2. I like the last couple of days reporting! This year has started out well! Ricky Gervais hosting the Golden Globes once again :), Kimi back in F1 and positive Saab news! 🙂

    • Me too—-though I’ve also seen speculation that the Phoenix platform might get sold to another company for production—-even if the Saab name can’t go with it. It’s possible there might be legal trouble in keeping the Saab name depending on who the buyer is. Of course, I maintain that if the Saab name is taken away, the new company can be “BAAS” which is Saab spelled backwards and pronounced “BOSS.” On another note, the name “Phoenix” would be nice, and appropriate too—-but the asshats at GM would probably lose their mind over that too since that name was used on crappy GM Pontiacs in the 80s. Anything the GM mooch machine can do to wreck all things Saab, they seem to be doing.

  3. I still have doubts regarding the Turks. Anyway on SAABblog I found the list of known bidders, and here it is (with some comments from my side):

    1. Youngman – First in line, already spent money on SAAB without getting anything in return. Seems to want to continue with SAAB cars and are interested in the platform. Claim to own it or at least parts of it. Got the big NO from GM.
    My “want them to buy SAAB” mark: 3 stars (out of 5) – Have money, have good will but not sure about the final outcome without GM’s “yes”.

    2. Dongfeng – Another runner from China. Most probably will never get GM’s “Yes” but they don’t seem to care. If they buy SAAB, the brand is probably dead for good. Interested in know-how and the new platform but the SAAB heritage is uninteresting for them. Claim to want to keep the factory in Sweden, but I doubt that.
    My “want them to buy SAAB” mark: 1 star (out of 5) – Maybe good for Trollhattan (if they continue with the factory) but for me as SAAB nerd having them as the new owner would be disaster.

    3. Magna – Mystery. Could be a perfect match if Magna want to keep SAAB brand. They have good relations with GM and sack full of money. But rumors tell that Magna doesn’t want SAAB brand, only the production facilities and the know-how.
    My “want them to buy SAAB” mark: Could be 1, could be 5.

    4. Mahindra – Wet dream for every SAAB nerd. They have money, they have experience with acquiring a bankrupt car manufacturer, they need access to US market. In my dreams SAAB rises out of ashes and becomes competitor to another Indian premium brand, you know which. But how serious are they? So far they haven’t even get a slot for a meeting with the receivers. Their representant in Sweden has shady reputation. And he continues with his old style of attacking the government and finding conspiracies against SAAB. For me it is mildly said strange that Mahindra hires Lars Carlstrom. Even a 5-minutes Googling would give them a number of reasons to not do that (here I don’t accuse him of anything, just referring to his background).
    My “want them to buy SAAB” mark: Right now it must be 5.”Our Father in heaven, make Mahindra buy SAAB and guide them to make SAAB more succesful then ever. Amen!”

    5. Brightwell – I considered them as vultures, and still have my reservations. But even if their heart is on the right place, I doubt they have muscles to make it happen. I am afraid this would become another agony in style with Spyker saga (sorry VM, I know you are a good man). This time the end would come faster, because the starting position for Spyker was 100 times better. SAAB needs a real owner which could give confidence to potential buyer. Brightwell doesn’t do that.
    My “want them to buy SAAB” mark: 2 stars. At least they promise to continue with SAAB.

    6. Some Swedish constelation – Don’t know anything about them.

    As you could see Mahindra is the favorite for obvious reasons.

    • Financial muscles is a must in order to regain the trust of the SAAB customers
      Lack of trust that SAAB would survive is the root cause to the downfall.
      The customers must belive that the new Saab is here to stay, that they have enough funds to keep “saab” alive for the number of years it will take to build up sales numbers.

    • Another thought on Magna:
      They do have a production facility in Graz (where inter alia the 9-3 convertible was built). While they might be interested in getting another assembly line, they would then of course be in full charge to get it filled by outside orders. Recent development has shown that this is not as simple as it might sound. Aston Martin intends to relocate the Rapide production to their main facility, SAAB is also gone from Graz, and two competitors have given up already, i.e. Karmann and Heuliez. So, having a flexible assembly line as such does not help much.

      In view of this, I am pretty optimistic that Magna, given they are really interested in aquiring SAAB, would try maintaining a genuine SAAB production in Trollhättan, to keep the line busy, and only additionally, try getting new orders for other cars (preferably also based on the Phoenix platform).

  4. My frank opinion: I favor the Indians instead of the Turks. It would be a dream if Saab would go the same way like Jaguar to Tata.

    Turkey may have had money, but I do not know to what extent they understand the context of the current automotive industry.

  5. In conspiracy mode now: He has been in contact with VM and with GM. Did GM interfere in the whole situation and wanted to go Saab broke? Get rid of VM, get rid of the Chinese and manipulate into a Turkish deal.
    Not much of a market share GM now has on the Turkish market. The Turkish government is also positive. You give some (Saab technology), you get some (market share).
    I think the word ‘corrupt’ should be damaged, but not in al perspectives.

    • I think that is the preference order I would have too, but I am surprised to see people keep mentioning Koenigsegg in these lists. If they pulled out when they did in 2009 because they did not feel the business plan could still work after all the delays, why would they be interested now when the situation is much worse than it was then?

    • That article is describing contacts with the Turkish administration two years ago.
      Now it is a private investment company, operating globally, which shows interest.
      That the basis of this company is Turkish is in my opinion not in contradiction with the point of view of the Turkish authorities in the past.

    • that article contains the following:
      “Çağlayan said […]. “Apart from this we saw that they have not invested in technology for almost 15 years.”

      That was in 2009… So the basically the economic minister declared that there was no technical development at Saab as of 1994. So it seems that no 9-5OG, no 9-3ss, let alone NG9-5 etc. has ever existed. Sigh.

    • Yes some quotes at the end are old but the general tone of this article is quite pessimistic and means that all those turkish affairs are the fruit of speculations . Nothing concrete .I notice that Brightwell are the only one to talk with the media currently . I wonder why .Maybe because they know or feel that they have less chance to succeed than Mahindra so they try to exist through the media to influence the administrators .

  6. I prefer the one that will keep production in Sweden and the brand alive – and I don’t think the Turks will do that or be allowed to use the SAAB brand. And then what? Then we will have Swedish technology in a domestic Turkish brand

  7. I prefer the one that will keep production in Sweden and the brand alive – and I don’t think the Turks will do that or be allowed to use the SAAB brand. And then what? Then we will have Swedish technology in a domestic Turkish brand, which is as far from a true SAAB as a BAIC C60.
    SAAB needs to be reorganized, with new models and a new business plan. But it will have to keep all the small things that makes a SAAB a SAAB.

    • Have faith in the administrators as well. In the earlier post from them they just give the arguments you mention as well.
      So they will do whatever they can to find the best possible solution for employees, for Sweden, for the creditors and for us; the Saabists.
      That is also their only hope to get as much as possible for the company.

  8. “Brightwell Holdings previous experience in the automotive industry can be found in an acquisition in 2010 of a European electric car, and ongoing negotiations with an American car manufacturer.”
    It seems the European electric car he refers to is French Heutliz, which has been known as assember for the Peugeot 206 CC, Nissan Micra CC and Opel Tigra TwinTop.

  9. I’m reposting my comment on Brightwell from Dec. 31:

    Did some research on Brightwell. It’s, indeed, a Turkish venture capital investment fund which is, probably for tax reasons, registered in the Netherlands (many similar businesses are) but operates from Istanbul in Turkey. It is controlled by a mr. Alphan Manas who is actually a very bright (president of Turkish Mensa and holder of multiple technical degrees), highly respected and respectable figure in the field of various applications of a.o. sustainable energy. Manas is also an inventor of some importance and something of a green technology tzar in Turkey and elsewhere. Here is a bio: http://www.kambocya.org.tr/engfbh.htm .

    Brightwell is actually not your run-of-the-mill asset-stripping venture capitalist. Yes, it is a venture capital provider but, as far as I could find out, one that appears to build up instead of breaking down or stuffing the acquisition full of debts, getting the money out and then resell it to the highest bidder. Brightwell is apparently into long(er)-term buying of and investing in knowledge-intensive companies which (can) develop and produce advanced sustainable energy generation and application technology, in all kinds of industry. They, among about a dozen other businesses, own a builder of hydrogen boat engines. Very recently, they bought Heuliez (600 employees), a French former coachbuilder (built a.o. buses, trucks and also several Citroen models such as the BX station car and, more recently, the C1 and some Peugeot models). Heuliez ran into trouble, re-invented themselves as a builder of electrically propelled microcars and minivans, ran into financial trouble again, got bankruptcy protection, was declared bankrupt (sounds familar?) and was subsequently taken over by Brightwell. They just started up production of the Heuliez Mia, just google it up. It is, as far as I could find, Brightwell’s first foray into the automotive world. But the take-over of Saab may well fit quite snugly with their policies because of a.o. Saab’s engineering expertise in hybrid drivetrains, electric drives, downsized turbo engines, methanol/E85 fuelled engines and clean diesel technology. So, if they will be the chosen ones, Saab may become a leader in the field of environmentally advanced automobiles.

    Brightwell’s acquisition policy would appear to involve buying a (near) bankrupt company for not a lot and attracting external money providers to get the funds needed for reconstruction or further development. When the company concerned is back on its feet, it would be sold to a larger group in a similar field or even by means of an IPA (public offer or, in other words, offer the shares for sale to the public). On their own, they can probably buy Saab but I quite doubt that they could also cough up the capital (as we all know, it could run up to around a billion USD over the next few years) required to re-start Saab, keep it going and develop it further. They aren’t a small business but not GE Capital, either. That, to me, could be a snag. Another potential snag: I myself would prefer another car builder (they know the car business, Brightwell doesn’t, not really, yet) with deep pockets as Saab’s new parent but if Brightwell put in an official bid to the receivers then they presumably must have some serious financing lined up. And industry expertise can be bought, at a price. Or maybe they are allied with a car manufacturer, I don’t know. Still, running a big financial risk of your own in a venture like this would make a buyer more committed, anyway that’s my own gut feeling about it. But I could be wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time…


    • Omission: Brightwell now also participate in another French electric-vehicle venture, the Tilter. It has three whels and can be described as something between an scooter and a car. Just google Tilter.

      Couldn’t find out about what American automotive venture they are negociating with. Will provide the info when/if I can locate it.


      • Ivo,
        I’m not sure Brightwell at the end bought Heuliez.
        I think Heuliez now, is own by Baelen Gaillard Industries , which is a french family owned business.
        I’m afraid Brighwell was blocked at the end of the process because there were too few garanties to maintain jobs in France……….;
        Maybe I’m wrong, but…..
        Not my favorite!

        • Heuliez as in the coachbuilder and maker of special purpose vehicles is now, indeed, a part of Groupe BGI but I believe that the electric vehicle, now called MIA (formerly the Heuliez Friendly) has now been put in a separate company which is -at least partly- controlled by Brightwell. But it could be totally different, the MIA could stiil be Heuliez and Brightwell might have set up a different entity building electric cars, I just don’t know. The info on Internet is rather fragmentary and sometimes contradictory.

          The Tilter deal, however, is confirmed. Brightwell is even mentioned as shareholder on heir website.


    • While it does sound like a good fit from Brightwell’s interest in green technologies, it sounds again like what VM planned to do back in 2009. Buy Saab, get production going and then along the way pull in more investors. So, the question could be would they be more successful at that than VM was?

  10. I don’t have much faith in an investor that is not a car company with an existing profitable brand. With an investor group, their motivations are in the wrong place and eventually they tire of spending money or run out of it and the brand dies again or just goes to crap. Sebris group and Chrysler is a prime example.

  11. My wish is for any new owner be able to purchase 100% of Saab with their own money. No government loans. No minority shareholders. No outside proprietary technology. No restrictions on its freedom of action. But can this actually happen?

    VM used to talk about Saab being more nimble in the wake of its rebirth as a non-GM owned company. Yet, at every turn, external entities were able to frustrate what the company was trying to do. Because they had skin in the game and a stake in the outcome. To be different, Saab must make its own decisions on its own timetable. But to do that, it might need to forego the sort of strategic partnerships which have proved useful in the past (Ford and Triumph) or may prove useful in the future (BMW). That’s a tall order, perhaps an impossible one in today’s cross-pollinated worldwide auto industry. The best we can hope for is that any new owner be flush with cash, so that hasty partnership deals that upset existing stakeholders can be avoided.

    • With all due respect to VM (and believe me, in my world, he’s due a lot of respect), recent events have shown that being “non GM owned” didn’t equate to being very nimble. I’m sorry, but if a “previous” owner can block a sale the way General Morons did a few weeks back—-they aren’t “previous” enough. Prying Government Moochers away from controlling Saab seems to be more difficult than separating mixed salt and pepper. This is why to me—-paramount above all is keeping the Saab car brand alive by any means necessary—-getting some non-GM technology car platforms pronto—-even if they’re not sterling (probably a bad choice of a word considering Rover-Sterling)—-let’s say even if they’re not excellent—-because by having any available cars to sell to stay in business will buy the time necessary to complete Phoenix and develop other new Saabs. Jesus, I’d ramp up to sell rebadged Daewoos for a couple years to stay alive. Life is better than the imminent death Saab is facing. If I’m about to be executed—-but they tell me they’ll drop me by parachute into the middle of a hostile jungle if I want to try to survive—-it’s “here I come jungle.”

    • I think Saab’s partnerships that they set up themselves would have worked fine (e.g., new engines from BMW, eXWD from the Swedish company, etc.), but it was the outside forces with skin in the game such as GM, EIB, NDO, etc. that seemed to block some of the efforts that would have brought in more liquidity of funds….the one thing that brought Saab to the bankruptcy….lack of enough funds.

      • You’re right. Of course, you’re right. But at this point, what brought Saab to bankruptcy isn’t as important as what needs to happen to keep them alive and emerge from bankruptcy. I know there is a lot of sentiment here—-and I completely understand it—-that Saab must keep a luxury standard, Saab must continue to stay on the high end and compete with Audi and BMW, Saab must be innovators and not offer entry level cars or less expensive cars—-but I assert that sentiment not withstanding, first and foremost, Saab must survive. In a world of choices, there can be a dialogue of what is the “best” thing to do. Absent choices—–if it comes down to one company able to buy Saab out of bankruptcy—deep pockets or limited resources—-if it comes down to one, we have to go with that one and see where it leads us. If things can at least be kept together with the Saab name on cars, regardless of what those cars are immediately—-we live to fight another day. Keep the dealerships open, ship inventory—-go with whatever we can get for now. Someone said it here a couple days ago—-Audi was slaughtered (at least in the U.S.) by the “unintended acceleration” hatchet job on 60 Minutes. Around 1985, they were growing fast—-the 5000 was a luxury car of choice for many executives and business owners—-then suddenly, that story broke and a huge fallout followed—-it crippled Audi. They had to go smaller and cheaper to regain their footing—-people who previously “couldn’t afford an Audi” were now buying a small Audi with cloth seats and hubcaps. They lived. In time, they repositioned, rebuilt their image, got their mojo back. In this case, considering the circumstances are even worse—-Saab might have to go downmarket further to build up again. We shall see.

        • I don’t disagree with your point that Saab may have to alter its targets based on its current economic needs. (There have been a number of discussions here on SU in the past about whether Saab needs an entry-level model.) But to say Saab needs to go ahead with no partnerships….I do not think that is possible today for a small car company. For example, Saab does not have the facility to build its own engines any more. True, they customized and tuned the engines they got from GM and were planning to do the same with the ones they signed an agreement to get from BMW, but a small company like Saab will have to partner with some companies.

          I was just pointing out that that it was not necessarily the technology partnerships that caused the majority of the current problem. It was the “perfect storm” of the race to get back to profitability in the start-up of 2010 into 2011 when other sources of funding were blocked while sales numbers were ramping back up.

          • I agree. I guess my point is that if push comes to shove—-Saabs might initially have to be rebadged versions of existing cars from another global automaker as part of an aquisition (sort of like the 9-2). As far as engines and other components go—you’re right that Saab is going to have to rely on someone to provide much of that, even when a new Saab is developed and built. Saab is going to have to compromise and that includes us—-in the future, if there is a Saab, don’t be surprised if there are 4 cylinder engines without turbos, cloth seats, smaller cars with less content. I’ve been ridiculed here for suggesting that—-and frankly, I would offer a car like that (a small hatchback) by choice, even if things were good—-to get more and younger people into the brand. But at this point, starving—-trying to do anything to stay alive—-I really believe if a Chinese or Indian company purchases Saab out of bankruptcy, this might be the initial course taken, depending on GM and the technology questions. If a small car like this is done well, with Saab styling cues and a few cool interior touches, decent quality control, proper marketing—-it can be the foundation that is built on to restore the brand back to profitability. I know that Spyker did the best they could—–but really, the hefty price increases on a brand that was publickly near death—-didn’t cut it. I knew when it was happening that it wasn’t a permanent solution. I guess the truth is that there was never enough money to do things properly—-and in my opinion, properly is to have models offered at all price points.

  12. If both Brightwell and Mahindra are awaiting a response from the receivers regarding an appointment, then just who are the receivers talking to?
    Also, may be OT, but what will happen to warranties for those of us who bought new SAABs in 2011? Will new owners honour those, because here in the UK, unlike Poland and Denmark, nobody wants to know – it seems impossible to even contact the administrators of SAAB GB. Even now, just like the last 12 months, everything seems cloaked in secrecy.

    • If both Brightwell and Mahindra are awaiting a response from the receivers regarding an appointment, then just who are the receivers talking to?



      I believe it is BAIC, YM, SAIC, in this order.

  13. Hmmm…..latest update where he says they need to study why Saab got to this point as he thinks it should have worked with Saab’s heritage and their quality products. Hopefully his study will show that it was not all just bad management, but all the hurdles that were put in the way by the EIB, GM, etc. With limited cash and attempts at new investment blocked, there was little money for advertising which impacted sales to the point that they did not ramp up as fast as hoped.

    I like his belief in Saab, its brand and heritage, and belief that Saab should be successful…but once again it comes back to whether Brightwell could round up enough investment cash to both restart production, repair the distribution and dealership channel, advertise, etc. All of that will be needed to succeed…and that will need a LOT of cash.

  14. I am stil sceptic to this turkish company Brightwell, but who knows? It can be good or maby not… We can just waint and see and hope that all this lead to something good for Saab in the end.

  15. Saab needs an owner with billions and the only one I can see with this kind of money is Mahindra. Anything else is a total lost cause.

    Bring on that new 9-3 (900?).

  16. A Turkish company with an English name?(Brightwell..). What gives? Just a rhetorical question, I haven’t done any research on them. If they’re Turkish why are they hiding behind an English name. I guess there are ‘German” Co’s with non Germanic names.

    • Aren’t we soooo international again today ;-)?

      I know of an English company (producing horse tack) by the German name “Neue Schule” (new school). The owner told me that in riding, everything coming from Germany is automatically considered to be good, by English riders (ridiculous, if you ask me). Austrian company ÖMV (Österreichische Mineralölvertrieb) changed its name to OMV, since the O Umlaut is not available on all keyboards. Etc.

  17. I tend to believe there is a verry quiet well fed Swedish Norwegian rabit in a hat somewhere waiting to come out… but thats whishfull thinking i guess…!!!

  18. about relation among saab and lotus, also hawtai, proton and youngman, SAIC, i post a graphs on gallery section on SU, not sure been deleted or not. even proton shows interest in saab. but now proton is trying to tie up with hawtai, saab’s previous short term parner.

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